tv Meet the Press MSNBC July 2, 2012 2:00am-3:00am EDT
correspondent and political director chuck todd, the new co-he is of the "today" show and chief legal correspondent savannah guthrie, editor of "the national review," rich lowry, and columnist for "the washington post" eugene robinson. good morning. you can imagine health care is all anyone's talking about in washington. well, that was the case until late friday night when this ferocious storm came through so suddenly in the mid-atlantic area, the ohio valley, west virginia, and it has reached so much havoc throughout the region, 2 million people without power, so much damage in neighborhoods up and down the coast. as i say in the ohio valley as well. we're monitoring that as so many people are still without power. meantime, health care is going to reverberate beyond this weekend as we get closer into the campaign, and that's why we want to dedicate the hour to it. on friday i sat down with the top democrat in the house, nancy pelosi, about what's ahead.
leader pelosi, welcome to "meet the press." >> welcome to the capitol. >> thank you for having us here. >> thank you. >> we are in full view of the supreme court, which has spoken on health care. is the fight over? >> as far as we're concerned, the victory is there for the american people. if you're a person with a child with diabetes, no longer will they be discriminated against because of a pre-existing condition. if you're a woman, no longer will you have to pay more. no longer will being a woman be a pre-existing medical condition. you pay less for your prescription drugs. and nothing for a preventive wellness checkup. and for everybody, no more lifetime limits on the coverage you receive. this and for other reasons, if you are a young person, you can be on your parents' policy if you both agree to that. and so for the american people, yes, the fight is over. others will try to challenge, but -- >> well, republicans have said
they won't waste any time to try to repeal this. is that fantasy from your point of view? >> it's being the mouthpiece of the health insurance industry. and we're saying let's not have them be in charge anymore. let the people be in charge of how they receive coverage and health care. it's -- they'll bring it up, and when they bring it up, they will ask to repeal, repeal of all the things that said that help children, help young adults, help seniors, help men or women who may have prostate cancer, breast cancer, whatever it is, any preconditions. and everybody will have low rates, better quality care, and better access. so that's what they want to repeal, we're happy to have that debate. >> so you don't think it's realireal reali realististic -- i mean, look, you fought in the trenches to get this thing passed. it wasn't easy. is repeal realistic for mitt romney and republican leaders say weerg going to lead the charge on this? >> i think that part of it is
over. do we always want to fight for more and better, we want to continue to lower costs, and we built that into the health care affordable care act, because one of the reasons to do the bill was because the cost of health care to individuals, to families, to businesses, no matter what their size, to local, state, and federal budgets and to our economy, the costs were unsustainable. it's a competitiveness issue for business and for our economy. so we had to take -- come to a place where we lower the costs for all concerned and that we, again, take it down the path where we won to lower costs. >> don't you acknowledge, even it's passed must we are the supreme court, there's still a lot of work to be done by this president to persuade the american people this is a good thing for them, to, in essence, win the argument, which he hasn't done? >> well, i think that he did very well the day that the bill got the approval so, to speak, but the decision was made and announced by the supreme court.
but, yes, it's always a conversation with the public, especially when you think that the health insurance industry spent $200 million putting out negative misrepresentations about the health care bill, when it was on the floor and coming to fruition and since. $200 million. >> would you concede the public is not yet sold? >> well, with $200 million of negative publicity both from the health insurance industry and anti-public -- what would you call it -- anti-government idealogues who don't think there should be any public role yet support medicare. there are some contradictions here. but the fact is, yes, more needs to be done, but the most eloquent statement of all will be from the experience the people have, if they have a pre-existing condition in their family, if they have been subjected to lifetime limits, when they get their check in august that says you're getting a refund because your health insurance company spent more money on corporate ceo
compensation and onned adminis e administrative costs than it did on meeting your health care needs. some people have told me they're getting ready for next year, thanks to affordable care. seniors are already paying less for prescription drugs. they may not know it, but it's because of the affordable care act and we have to make sure they do know it. but already the health insurance industry has collected millions of dollars to go back out there to put themselves in charge. and that's the fight we have. >> to the extent that you believe and others believe that the supreme court has conferred an extra level of legitimacy on this health care act, the reality is that the court also said that the act is in effect a tax, that the individual mandate requiring that folks who can buy insurance is a tax. won't that make it more difficult to sell the popularity of this program to the american people? >> well, who is the penalty on? the penalty is on people who have the wherewithal but refuse
to buy health insurance figuring they won't be sick and if they do other people will have to cover it. so these free riders, as they were identified by governor romney himself, said people have the ability to pay and don't can't expect to be free riders. and i think that he tailored it exactly right. these fry riders make health insurance for those who are taking responsibility, making it more expensive. personal responsibility is a principle of our country. conservatives claim it. progressives claim it. liberals claim it. we all claim it as -- >> it was a matter of political discourse, you know that. the president's solicitor general went into the supreme court and said this is constitutional under the taxing authority of congress. >> that's right. >> that's not how it was sold to the american people. that's not how it was sold to the american people. >> it's a penalty. it's a penalty that comes under the tax cold for the 1% perhaps of the population who may decide that they're going to be free
riders. but most people are not affected by that. >> but it is a tax on the american people. >> no. it's a penalty for free riders. but since you're bringing up the subject, it's important to note the middle-income families will get about $4,000 in tax breaks and tax credits in order to have their health insurance, to buy their health insurance. so middle-income families make out very well in this. businesses get tax credits to provide health insurance for their workers. so what we're saying is is those who take responsibility get the protections of this bill. those who want to be free riders have to pay -- they either have to take responsibility and buy insurance, and there are many ways for them to do it, or they get a penalty, and the penalty, yes, it is charged under the tax code. it could come any other place, but it's under the tax code. and the tax code is the place where the federal government has all the constitutional authority to act as the court said. >> just one more on this before
i move on. bottom line, the president's health care reform is here to stay. >> absolutely. it will only get better. >> you're confident, given the heavy toll that the health care fight exacted on the president and on the parties and on the loss of control of the house, that democrats in the house and senate running in tight re-election races, they are going to wholeheartedly embrace health care reform and campaign on it? >> let me say this -- i don't buy the argument you make that we lost the election because of health care. we lost the election because of 9.5% unemployment. it would have been 15% had congress and president obama and his leadership passed the recovery act, auto, rescue, and other initiatives. but if you don't have a job, you don't want to hear it could be worse. and then if you have a shield of 9.5% unemployment, which is very hard for an incumbent to penetrate and then start -- have $200 million coming in from the health insurance industry to misrepresent the facts on the
health care bill, plus another -- you know -- >> -- responsibility for failing to communicate to the american peoe what was in the health care bill? >> oh, we certainly could have done better on that. no. we certainly could have done that. but i could have left the battlefield of passing the bill and said i have to go out and raise $100 million. >> is the president going to lose re-election because of high unemployment? >> i think the president is going to be re-elected and do so in a way that explains to the american people about two different paths. it's about jobs, it's about good-paying jobs. it's about fairness and -- >> what's different about conditions from where we were when democrats lost the house? unemployment is still high. growth is not what has been expected. >> we're on a better path now. we would have been on a better path if the republicans had not been so obstructionist on the president's proposal for jobs. we have a plan. make it in american, not to be protectionist but to be self-reliant. we want to sell in the global market as well as buy.
build american infrastructure of america. it's taken so long for us to get a transportation bill, and we should be doing so much more to address the infrastructure concerns, whether it's broadband or bridges. do so in a community way where we know the role that education and public safety play about fairness in our tax code and a sense of community and shared responsibility in our country. and i add to the abcs of that a dare, a dare to reduce the role of money in campaigns because you cannot separate the policy from the politics. the bread box and the ballot box are connected, and they are. so we are daring, disclose. i'm nancy pelosi and i support this ad. they should disclose, too. amend the constitution to overturn citizens united. reform the system to reduce the role of money. and elect reformers of either party or any party. >> what has to come out of this next jobs report?
there was a dismal report last month. to give the american people hope to know that sticking with the president is it can lead to some semblance of economic recovery? >> i'd like it to be the best possible report, of course, but i think it's also important for the president when he shows the two different paths to go -- that our country can go down in this regard, that giving tax cuts to the wealthiest people in our country, as was the case under president george w. bush, that that did not create jobs, it just increased the deficit, took us to the brink of a recession, and that's not the way to go. but that's the same that the republicans are presenting now. the president is talking about growth. he's talking about fiscal responsibility. we need revenue. we need cuts. we need growth to create jobs. and i have every confidence that the president out there -- he already has made a tremendous difference. but you cannot assume that the public knows when there's this barrage of endless money.
that's why i say money has to be taken out -- endless money making misrepresentations on the campaign trail. >> high drama this week with the contempt vote for the attorney general. you and others have walked out as this vote was taking place. >> yeah. >> you actually suggested there's some conspiracy among republicans because he's challenging some of the voting rights act laws around the country that they went after him on the contempt vote. what do you have as a fact? >> i don't say it's a conspiracy. i say it's self-evident that this attorney general, done take it from me, you only need to look to some of the statements made by the republicans in particular about saying that he should resign from office because he has not enforced their voter suppression laws in the country. this is an ongoing theme. and it is really unfortunate. this is the first time in the history of our country that a cabinet officer has been held in
contempt of congress. to do so within one week of it coming out of the community after the administration has cooperated in every way with them, but there was no way that they wanted to resolve it. the constitution tells us, and william french smith, when he was attorney general under president reagan spoke to this point, that the branches of government have have a responsibility to resolve differences without one having a severe upper hand in all of it. when we had a similar situation in -- 4 1/2 years ago with harriet miers to get documents regarding the firing of the u.s. attorneys at that time, remember that, some of that related to voter is suppression, too. but in any event, the committee has asked for testimony, witn s witnesseses to come in, stonewalled, stonewalled, stonewalled, not one scrap of paper on harriet miers. we came out of committee. it wasn't for over 200 days that we took it to to the floor. the chairman and i and the
leadership said just keep finding a way, keep finding a way. we done want to do this. we want the documentation. we want the record to show. but we do not want to do contempt, and that's what we ended up doing. over 200 days with not one paper coming to us from harriet miers, not one showing up in congress, one piece of paper. they've given thousands of documents to the committee in order to resolve this in advance of the vote, and then they took the vote anyway in the committee last week. and in seven days -- and there's something very wrong with that abuse of power. it's just not right. the american people deserve better. and the constitution admonishes us to do better. >> leader, thank you. >> thank you. my pleasure. >> leader pelosi on friday. we want to get back to health care and the debate as we move forward. before we continue with that debate, commentators and politicians grapple with the
meani meaning of the ruling from the scour this week, i wanted to take out a moment to lay out some of the big questions about health care as we move forward in the elections. the law passed muster in the high court, but will it survive the effort by republicans to repeal it? >> strike it down! >> resolve. there's a lot of resolve from my star colleagues and amongst the american people to stop a law that's hurting our economy, driving up the cost of health care. >> the polls show americans aren't yet sold on this law, but another legislative fight over health care is a lot harder to win than politicians make it sound on the campaign trail. what's clear is that both sides are in a footrace. key elements of the law don't take effect until 2014. republicans want to prevail before then when americans could be much more reluctant to give up the new benefits. but the president, he's in a race, too, to win the argument abwhether the law is good for people. >> what the country can't afford to do is refight the political battles of two years ago or go
back to the way things were. >> beyond the debate in washington, will the law make health care better, more accessible, andore affordable in america? >> the thing i'm most concerned about the law is that it's not going to reduce the cost of health care for the entire nation very much. i think we will continue to see spike-ups and then come back down a little bit, but it's still on a trajectory which is unacceptable going forward. >> and there's a question, as well, about whether chief justice roberts meant to send a signal that others in washington will follow by siding with the liberals on the court, some analysts see a jurist concerned chiefly with the integrity of the high court at a time when government is so polarized. >> he wasn't making a political decision, but he was putting the interest of the court as an institution above his own ideological agenda, and that's exactly what he said he would do. >> it was a reminder to all us students that elections have consequences because presidents appoint supreme court justices who can have pretre impact on law and policy throughout the country, something we'll talk more about later on in the hour.
joining me, the former chair of the democratic party and governor of vermont, dr. howard dean, and republican governor of louisiana, bobby jindal. welcome to both of you. >> thank you. >> governor jindal, you heard me ask leader pelosi, is the fight over? she said yes. republican attempts to repeal it are basically fantasy at this point. but you and other republican governors say no, you're not going to fully implement the law even though the supreme court has spoken. why not? >> absolutely. look, this election, this coming election gives american voers a chance. we've got two very dirpt infrastructure candidates. president obama has doubled down on this creation of a brand-new entitlement program over $500 billion in medicare cuts, $500 billion in tax increases, $1.7 trillion in new spending we can't afford. we can't afford the programs that we have. we wants to create a new program. there's never been one day a majority of the american people wanted this. he forced this through on a party line vote without one republican vote in support. i think voters -- >> governor, wait a second. what are you not going to do? you're not going to cover people who need insurance in your state even after if the federal
government passed it, t congress passed it and the supreme court says it's constitutional? >> we have two critical decisions. do we set up exchanges and expand medicaid? we're not doing either. it makes more tense to elect mitt romney and appeal obama care. this is simply growing government health care. governments on experts, they say health care spending is going up. cms actuaries say health care will go up 7% in 2014 as this law begins to be enacted. they did not bend the cost curve down as the president promised. they did not make health care spending more sustainable. we can't afford another entitlement program. we'll have more people in the cart than pulling the cart. we'll go the way of europe if we don't repeal. >> a lot of facts and figures and charges that are disputed. i want to slow this down and break it down so it's understandable. governor dean, on what governor jindal is proposing to not do, can you actually explain what the impact of that will be?
>> sure. >> and how audacious you think that is? >> let's deal with the exchanges. if you don't put in your own exchange, the federal government will run one for you. >> where you pie a program. >> bobby has a choice of having this done for him by the federal government or doing it himself. i think that's a no-brainer. but look, in my state, we have had universal health care for every kid under 18 for 20 years by expansion of medicaid. in louisiana, 48th in the country in terms of child poverty, 48th in the country in terms of premature deaths, 48th in the country in terms of industrial accidents and so forth. just by expanding medicaid alone, by accepting the president's medicaid extension, 340,000 out of those 860,000 uninsured people get covered. this is a great deal. >> and the federal government pays for 100% of it. >> i have some sympathy with the notion that we don't want to get into this thing and they'll cut it back to 90% and 70%. but right now for the next ten years, this progr is pretty much fully funded.
and i'll just -- we're doing a lot of facts and figures here. when i was running for president and campaigning in south carolina, we calculated that if the south carolina governor at that time had done what we did in vermont in terms of matching money for medicaid, they get 80%, 20% they put up, 80% the feds put up, they would have raised their entire gross state product by 2% simply by having the same medicaid rules that we do. so i think this stuff about not accepting medicaid and not accepting exchanges is crazy. if you don't like the law, i understand. i don't like the law all that much. but the fact of the matter is it is the law, it will work, ill's necessary, and governor romney knows it because he did it in massachusetts. >> two things real quickly. on medicaid expansion, this is a great philosophical difference between republicans and democrats and mitt romney and president obama. you heard howard say a growing medicaid grows your state's economy. look, federal dollars aren't free. those dollars are coming from us, our children, our grandchildren. we're borrowing money from china to spend on government programs we can't afford.
the best thing we can do is help people get good-paying jobs instead of giving them federal programs. we've been under the national rates and averages. under president obama, median family income has gone down $4,000. since i've been governor, it's gone up $2,000. they need better paying jobs to afford health care. i agree we need to reform the health insurance marketplace. i do agree the status quo is not acceptable. i jt don't think this expensive, unsustainable entitlement spram the solution. >> so the solution, mitt romney says, is repeal. this is what he said after the courtroom. >> what the court did not do on its last day in session i will do on my first day if elected president of the united states. and that is i will act to repeal obama care. >> bottom line is easier said than done. >> he will do no such thing. first of all, he's going to take health care away from all the senior who is got their doughnut hole closed? >> what does that mean, by the way? >> the doughnut hole is a part
of medicare which is incredibly expensive for really sick people whose prescriptions are no longer covered because they spent so much money. that drives seniors into poverty. it was fixed in the bill and then of course if they repeal the bill they now throw a whole bunch of seniors into trouble again. then they're going to take away health insurance from kids who are 20 25 who can stay on their parents' policy? i don't think they are going do these things. here's the thing that drives me nuts about this debate. mitt romney did this in massachusetts, and the truth is -- and i'm not for an individual mandate, but he did it with an individual mandate in massachusetts. 98% of all the people in massachusetts are covered in their health insurance, and all this economic stuff is hocus-pocus. massachusetts is doing very well economically relative to other states. so all this stuff about it's going to bankrupt the state, mitt romney is the one that showed this could be done for the whole country. >> i don'll come back to the individual mandate in a second.
pure legislative politics. couple points. you have to have the votes in the senate. you have to get through the legislative grind, which is easier said than done on the campaign trail than it is when you're in office, if you here in office. secondly, how realistic is it to take something away that people have already started to benefit from? >> three things. he said repeal and replace. mitt romney says pre-existing conditions absolutely a genuine concern, wants to make sure people continue coverage, don't face discrimination in the marketplace, wants to make sure people going into the market for the first time have r not high risk. it makes no sense when people need help the most it's hardest to buy insurance. you can't just get rid of it and replace it. unfortunately, the president, if he engaged in serious bipartisan dialogue, could have gotten some reforms done. secondly, the democrats used reconciliation to get this done on a strictly pure majority vote in the senate without needing 60 votes. the reality is when smorm elected he'll have a mandate. you'll see not only a republican senate but democratic senators
like senator prior and others in swing states all of a sudden i think support mitt romney. >> here's the issue. as a matter of politics, you have to go out and make the case when back in 2006 then governor romney passing health care in massachusetts -- this was by the liberal research pac that found his position on the liberal mandate exactly what it is on this bill. this is what he said then. >> secondly, with regards to the mandate, the individual responsibility program which i proposed, i was very pleased to see that the compromise from the two houses includes the personal responsibility of principal. that is essential for bringing health care costs down for everyone and getting everybody the health insurance they deserve and need. >> this is somebody who says let's repeal a law that has the individual mandate at its core. >> i think paul ryan made this point very well friday. mitt romney has always been against the national man dey, always been against bom care,
always said he wanted to repeal it. i come from one of the most distinct cultural states in the entire country. mardi gras is right for louisiana. may not work as well as in vermont or other states. the rereality is what works in massachusetts may not be appropriate to another state. >> you're comparing mardi gras to universal health insurance? >> what i'm saying is every state is different. mitt romney has never been nor a national mandate. think about what the supreme court has done now. the founding fathers purposely reserved powers to the states and the individuals they would not give to the federal government. now, the court did something -- i disagree with the ruling. they're eroding our freedoms. but they're more honest than the president. they called it what it was, a huge tax increase. the federal government can tax us for not following along. >> in massachusetts very few people had to pay. most people got health insurance. that's a fact, isn't it? >> now they can compel -- that's the whole point. it's about changing behavior. for example -- >> very few people actually had to pay a tax. >> it's the threat of a new tax
increase to change behavior. >> let me get a response on this point. >> this is a fundamental disagreement between democrats and republicans, between bobby and myself. pick on texas. 22% of its kids have no health insurance, and 25% of its adults have no health insurance. those aren't just texas kids. those are american kids. and i think we have an obligation to make sure our kids have health insurance. and this bill does that. i don't like the individual mandate either, and i don't think it was necessary, but it's there. th supreme court has spoken. the congress has spoken. the president has spoken. mitt romney has shown this can work because it did work in massachusetts with 98% of people covered. i don't want to live in a country where 22% of the kids who are american kids in texas don't have health insurance, and i think it's our obligation as a society to make sure everybody has health insurance, and that is what this bill does. >> i'm out of time. two quick ones for you, governor. you're on the vp list. would you like to be his running mate if he asks you? >> you and i talked about this before. we're not going to speculate. i've said this the last several
weeks. we're not speculating or commenting on that. for all those questions governor romney and his campaign, no disrespect to joe biden, this is a choice between two visions for america. mitt romney will grow the private sector, not the public sector. i want to say in louisiana 96.5% of our kids have coverage. i think if you leave it to fate -- nobody is saying leave them uncovered. we're saying a new government entitlement program is not the way to do this. >> times picayune, talking about publishing only three days a week, a big draft effort to reverse that. where do you stand? >> look, personally, as a citizen, i think it's a sad day to have this newspaper go to three days a week instead of seven days a week. i know they'll enhance digital content. i have a lot of friends that work at the paper. i done always agree with the paper. i think the day lu newspaper, the printed newspaper plays an important role of holding government accountable, uniting our people.
they played such a critical role after katrina. even though don't agree with the editorial positions and reporting, i'm saddened by the fact we'll have a great american city without a major daily newspaper. i don't think it's a good development. >> governors, thank you very much. we'll come back with more on the politics of health care during our special hour here. also, the legacy of chief justice john roberts, which has been discussed this week. our roundtable is up next. "the washington post's" eugene robinson, "the national review" rich lowry and nbc's chuck todd
we're back with our political roundtable. nbc political director chuck todd, editor of "the national review" rich lowry, "washington post" columnist eugene robinson, and "today" show co-host and still nbc news chief legal correspondent savannah guthrie. welcome to all of you. savannah, congratulations. ? thank you so much. >> hear, hear. >> we're so happy for you, and i know the "today" show viewers will embrace you warmly. great for nbc news. ? thank you. >> you've got to be excited about it. >> i'm very excited and excited to talk about the supreme court this morning. >> no, we're not going to move on. >> enough, enough. >> so proud. >> when is the next concert? that's really -- it means free tickets for us. >> we are wasting precious time. >> let's frame this by going to our train tracker this morning, what's moving online, what people are paying attention to. you guessed it, the future of health care, whether there's a boost for president obama and
the legacy of the chief justice. so that's really where we start. you know, i thought it was funny, a lot of talk about what this means politically. jaly leno had a little fun imagining what president obama's real reaction was when he got the supreme court ruling. watch. >> you know, it's interesting. he didn't want to gloat, but if you watch his body language closely you could see he was feeling pretty good about it. here he is today. >> this is an nbc news special report. ♪ have a good time ♪ >> so, chuck, is that how it felt over there? >> what's funny is he was watching the bank of televisions on mute as they do in the white house. they have a four-box screen, the three news channels on cable plus one other. >> yeah. >> and of course the first thing he saw were the two banners on
two other news channels that said the mandate had been struck down and then literally 30 seconds later his white house counsel comes in. he got to experience both feelings there. they're not -- it's not euphoria. what it is is relief. i think when you look at the -- just look at the drumbeat of coverage at this thing being upheld, imagine a world it hadn't been. politically it was something they were nervous about because it would have shrunk the presidency. this is relief, not euphoria. >> rich lowry, more upside for the republicans or the president? >> well, it's a win for the president because as chuck says he mostly avoided something that would have been horrible. even if just the mandate struck down it would be embarrassing as the president supposed to be a student of the constitution, misses on this health care law being unconstitutional. if the whole thing would have been struck down it would have been a debacle. a year and ahalf spent on this and it all goes away. i do think republicans are energized. i think there will be an effort which started when the law passed to declare it a fait
accompli. when it passed democrats on the left said look, it's over, it will be more popular, get over it. now they're saying republicans can't do that, they shouldn't do that. i believe if president romney is elected with a republican senate or house they'll be able to stymie enough of this law to basically render it inoperative and then it's incumbent on them to come up with -- >> but a question of political will, sha van na. is this what republicans want to spend their time on? governor jindal said, yes, they won't do the exchanges or medicaid expansion. is this what house and senate republicans want to fight about? >> perhaps they do. i'm not sure the presidential campaigns want to dwell on health care, either one. it's fascinating because the legal victory went to president obama but in some sense a political victory went to the republicans. romney now has a new argument he can deploy which is that president obama raised taxes, a national health care tax, something we've already heard republicans say in the wake of this decision. so they may want to talk about it. on the other hand, i think both presidential campaigns recognize
the economy is the issue that voters care about and having this endless litigation -- we've already had it in the supreme court but then in the public arena over health care is probably not wise for either campaign. >> can you break down -- this is washington, after all. we talk about the legislative grind. what would republicans be up against to stymie the law the weyrich says they'll try to? >> well, they'd be up against washington. they'd be up against the way things work in washington, which is through something getting in motion that's very hard to stop. it's difficult for me to imagine, for example, republican governors telling their taxpayers, taxpayers of their state, that, oh, there's all this federal money for medicaid expansion. it's your tax dollars. they're going to other states. they're not coming to our state. you get none of that back. it's not going to be a popular position. so i think a lot of -- you're going to hear a lot of tough talk now. i think you'll see less tough action when the rubber actually starts hitting the road in implementation of law.
>> chuck, when i talked to white house advisers this week, campaign advisers, they say what we want to talk about is middle-class security and certainly health care is part of it. but look how much they have to do. it's messy. people still don't understand it. and lots of it is still controversial. >> they're counting on two things here. one is the white house fatigue. they think it brings up what savannah brought up about the relitigation. how many times are we going to continue to fight about health care? they think the more republicans want to fight about health care, they can say, hey, they keep fighting about the past. who's looking out now? the other thing they're counting on is mitt romney. can he come up with a viable alternative? i think that's going to be the challenge. let's say under rich's scenario there's a president romney, a 50/50 republican senate with vice president say jindal today as the tiebreaking vote since he was here and the republican house. they're going to have to figure out how to come up with their own plan and how to deal with the fact it's going to look like the deficit goes up if they repeal it. right?
they'll have this deficit problem. it's a lot more complicated to repeal this thing than it sounds on a campaign bumper sticker. >> yeah. rich? >> one, this law has been persistently unpopular. it was about 32% before it passed. last poll before the supreme court decision was about 34%. if you're not making that an issue as a republican, i think that's maractice. two, i do think romney needs to come um with an alternative. rather than being vague and dodging around, he should gave big health care policy speech in coming weeks and talk about how republican policy can address the two selling points -- >> how does he do it with his past? the one time he did health care, he tackled it like obama. >> more of the uninsured more coverage. do it by changing the tax treatment of health care, having a deduction or refundable credit. you do refundable credit, you can cover tens of millions of people at a fraction of the cost with more choice and less government control. and then people wi pre-existing conditions, a lot of people very anxious about that, obviously. it is a problem, but it affects a relatively small number of
people. if you construct high-risk pools properly and fund them properly, you can take care of that problem. take care of the two big things wow this -- >> there's a context here. the fiscal cliff. tax hikes. medicare, medicaid. are we going to have this health care debate again in that context? >> i just don't think so. look, for the republican base, i think they'll love it. but for independents who are going to decide this election, i think there's a been there, done that kind of feel to this whole discussion, and i just don't think the romney campaign, if p it's smart, is going to spend a whole lot of time relitigating health care in an attempt to get those -- >> here's where i disagree, though. >> the campaign issue, to the extent they talk about health care at all they want to frame it in this larger economic nary they've health care is bad policy romney says because it's a huge expenditure. they want to frame it in terms of the economy, not talk about health care -- >> but there's a larger issue, which is what has government
done? when it bailed out the banks, the economy tanked. what has government done to either done to help or make things worse? romney will make an argument that health care is an example of the government making things worse, not better, and that's why we need a different choice. >> that's what's so interesting about the health care debate. people have perceptions about the health care law, many, many provisions. its most fundamental reforms haven't gone into effect yet. has it made it better or worse? we don't know. >> that's another reason it's not settled. it's crazy to say it's settled and let's get over it when it hasn't been implemented and it's badly under water p. >> there is this middle here, about 20% to 25% polling on health care, and basically these are people that sit there and say we needed health care reform but i didn't like this. they're not ready to agree on repeal. that scares them. and they're not ready to say i'm with the president on this. however, i do think d -- i'll be interested to see if anybody moves in the next week because i do think there is a small window
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we're back with our roundtable. who got more attention this week, president obama and health care or chief justice john roberts? here's the cover of a special edition of "time" magazine, "roberts rules: re-examining his legacy on the court." this morning, roberts' health care ruling sends a message to politicians. this was this view, savannah, this was a chief justice concerned about the integrity of the court. back in 2007 he spoke to jeff
rosen of g.w. law school and the republic and the atlantic. this is what he said back then. in deciding to resist the politicization of the judiciary, roberts acknowledged he's set himself another daunting task but he said he views it as a special opportunity. politics are closely divided, the same with the congress. there oug to be some sense of stability. if the government is not going to polarize completely, it is a high priority to keep any kind of partisan divide out of the judiciary as well. he sided with the liberals. he seemed to live up to that this week. >> this is a chief justice who is consumed by this concern about the credibility of the court as an institution. he does not like those decisions that go 5-4 right down party lines because he thinks it erodes the public's confidence in the court. and you see these tensions shot through the opinion itself. on the one hand, yes, he saves the health care act. at the end of the day, it survives. however, when you read the opinion itself, it's an extremely conservative opinion in its ideology.
he rejects and rebukes the federal government for this broad view of power under the congress clause and then does something that thecourt has never done before, which is capping congress' spending power, saying wait a minute, your medicaid conditions went so far as to be coercive on the states. i mean, this is something that has been in the doctrine, in the supreme court cases for years. the justices have said there may be a case one day when the conditions on spending got to be so much that it would be a burden and coercion on states, but they've never actually said it happened, until now. by the way, chief justice roberts got two liberals on the court to sign on to that. an extraordinary opinion. >> rich lowry, you were not celebrating the chief justice this week with the liberals talking about his protection of the integrity of the court. but why is it wrong for the chief justice to have a view that in his capacity, his job should be to seek to find a way to uphold laws and not strike them down? >> well, really the hinge of the decision is a paragraph that goes exactly to that point where he says it's my obligation, if
it's fairly possible, to come up with a saving construction of this law. and i think that's basically right. then the question goes to, was it fairly possible, his reading of the mandate, as a tax? or was it wildly implausible? and i'm in the implausible camp. he engaged in all sorts of verbal gymnastics, and that's why so many people right, left, in between concluded this was mostly an act of judicial statesmanship to try to preserve the integrity of the court. i don't think that's his most important job. he's supposed to faithfully interpret the constitution and not rewrite the laws. you know, this is the irony of perversity of this decision. under the guise of judicial restrain, he basically rewrote the mandate and basically rewrote the medicaid provision, and he is not the 101st senator. that's not his job. >> progressives have had to just get over any number of john roberts' decisions, and i think conservatives have to get over this one. they really do. you know, let's foet all the double reverse with a twist conspiracy theories about him
switching votes and what -- let's take him at his word. he thought it was constitutional. he voted that way. >> by the way, it was a huge week where you had sort of -- we now know that there are two swing justices on the court. it's roberts and kennedy. just look at the maik-up of the arizona decision which happened monday, which by the way might have as much political impact on the election -- >> oh, yeah. >> -- maybe more as far as president obama is concerned. >> let me go around the table with just a few minutes left on some other big stories. we'll put them up. the first is on the attack on bain against mitt romney on the white house. you found negative for romney, chuck. >> the obama campaign is winning the campaign. when you look at the air war in the swing states, they're attempting to define him as two things, one, that his business experience doesn't translate into economic growth. that was part of their first month-long ad campaign. and second that business experience might be a negative. they're pounding him on this. it's not just on bain.
it's on -- they were using the fact he used similar language right before he game governor of massachusetts and using the massachusetts record. the fact is the political ad campaign, the ad war right now, the obama campaign is winning. >> next item is battleground polls that we go inside the states, which is so telling. i'll go through them quickly. new hampshire, a key state for lom kn romney. they're tied at this point. michigan, obama with the edge, the president with a four-point edge there. north carolina, also so important, the president has just a two-point edge there. rich lowry, all these under 50% which tells you how tight the race is. >> still very close. maybe there's been a little slip anl for romney. maybe those bain ads are biting. but factcheck.org and "the washington post" fact checker looked at these ads and found they're gross distortions using aoutside -- >> a gross distortion in a campaign ad? never heard the in politics. >> i think romney has to go to
more substance, to get off his business background a little bit. i think their basic template in the romney campaign is the christy corzine race in '09. christie didn't give any details, just said let me get my handle around this problem and he depended oncor sine being so unpopular in new jersey. i don't think that's a good template for that race. obama is not corzine. it's a default strategy. not good enough. ? >> is the house contempt vote, the full vote in the house to hold the attorney general in contempt, this was the reaction that congressman eny hoyer, leading democrats outside the capitol as they all walked out during the contempt vote saying shame on you. just political theater, savannah? >> well, let's put it this way. whatever legal resolution there may be it will be years down the road. we've seen this time and time again. >> shame! >> we've seen this about the administration asserting
executive privilege and the other side saying it was overbroad. it never gets resolved on the political time line that matters. and i think there are some probably in the republican party itself who think is this the highest and best use of our time. some people are very animated about this issue and feel this was the correct move for holder to be held in contempt but i don't know if republicans want to focus on it. >> just a few seconds, gene. >> fast and furious excites passions, especially among the republican base. so in that sense, i think, you know, politically it fires up the republican base. i don't think it does much else politically. >> we'll leavethreat. thank you all very much. great discussion. you can watch this week's press pass conversation with mark shriver on our blog. he's out with his new biography about his father, the late sargent shriver. we'll be away next sunday during nbc' sports coverage of the tour de france. one programming note there is de france. one programming note there is chuck todd is n
the edge of a cliff. >> oh, my god! a family's roof gone with the wind. >> it sounded like an explosion. >> whoa! one bungee jumper's cord wraps around his neck. >> i saw my life flash before my eyes. >> another's snaps. slamming him into the water. >> i was the most scared i've ever been in my life. inches away from disaster, seconds from death. hello. welcome to "caught on camera." i'm contessa brewer. every day we go about our daily routines never thinking that at any moment we could suddenly find ourselves in harm's way. not much feels as ordinary as a trip to the convenience store, sightseeing in the park, or even filling up yotb gas tank. but as one ohio man discovered,